Gramalaya's information gateway to manage Disaster, Hazard mapping and Vulnerability assessment, combat Risk and building Capacities of the Communities towards Risk Reduction through Mitigation and Preparedness

What is a disaster?

The term disaster is said to be originated from the French word "Desastre" which is a combination of two words 'des' meaning bad and 'aster' meaning star. Thus the term refers to 'Bad or Evil star'.

A disaster can be defined as "A serious disruption in the functioning of the community or a society causing wide spread material, economic, social or environmental losses which exceed the ability of the affected society to cope using its own resources". A disaster is a result from the combination of exposure to hazard, vulnerability and insufficient capacity or measures to reduce the potential chances of risk. A disaster happens when a hazard impacts on the vulnerable population and causes damage, casualties and disruption.

Any hazard – flood, earthquake or cyclone which is a triggering event along with greater vulnerability (inadequate access to resources, sick and old people, lack of awareness etc) would lead to disaster causing greater loss to life and property.

Natural Hazards & Disaster Management

The hitting of earthquake turns to be disastrous only when it affects people, their properties and activities. Thus, disaster occurs only when hazards and vulnerability meet. But it is also to be noted that with greater capacity of the individual/community and environment to face these disasters, the impact of a hazard reduces. Therefore, we need to understand the three major components namely hazard, vulnerability and capacity with suitable examples to have a basic understanding of disaster management.

What is a Hazard? How is it classified?

Hazard may be defined as "a dangerous condition or event, that threat or have the potential for causing injury to life or damage to property or the environment." The word 'hazard' owes its origin to the word 'hasard' in old French and 'az-zahr' in Arabic meaning 'chance' or 'luck'. Hazards can be grouped into two broad categories namely Natural and Manmade. Gramalaya is involved in post disaster relief and rehabilitation activities through distribution of relief materials with the support of CAF India, New Delhi.

Relief materials package was meant for meeting the basic needs for a month period along with a Food storage trunk. In the aftermath of disaster striking the community is deprived of its livelihood options, and access to potable water and safe food. Gramalaya's relief intervention assists the community to limp back to their normal life. These initiatives bring together the community, as the community participation is a key element for disaster preparedness.

During the process of relief material distribution, DPMC-Disaster Preparedness and Management Committee meticulously involved in the sorting-out of the relief packets and providing it to the affected communities without any bias and prejudice.

Gramalaya responds to the humanitarian needs of the people inflicted by natural disasters focusing on the requirements of the most vulnerable community. After responding to the immediate requirements of the affected community, Gramalaya turns its focus on the capacity building of the vulnerable and affected communities equipping them to manage future disaster scenario. Gramalaya has the thought process to Reach the Unreached.

Linking relief and development

Disasters affects the poor and down rotten the most, as they often live in areas that are prone to recurring hazards, such as floods, storm and cyclones. They are the most vulnerable, who lose their homes, jobs and farmland while fleeing the civil unrest and conflicts. Disasters obliterate years of investment and close the avenues of future development. To overcome such situations caused by disasters, the holistic approach is to link relief activities with rehabilitation, recovery and development.

Resilient recovery

Gramalaya stands for all inclusive humanitarian interventions that enable the affected local community to build their capacity and become resilient towards the future disasters. To practice this approach, Gramalaya has coined the term 'resilient recovery' that enables the most vulnerable people in hazard-prone areas to build resilience and self reliance.